Have you ever hired a coach/consultant for your SAS and didn't get the results you wanted? Or maybe you feel like you wasted your money because the content was really good—but it didn't really have an impact on your business?
I'm going to explain why this happened to you, how you can find a SAS coach that can really help take you to the next level, get you results, free up your time, help you become a better CEO, a better founder, and a better strategic thinker.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
By the end of our short time together, you’ll be an expert in how to find, qualify and make sure you’ve hired the right person to help you grow faster.
It’s Probably Not Your Fault.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of people out there that think they know how to coach SaaS companies, and they say they know a lot and can work miracles—but the truth is, they are not experienced and their strategies aren’t effective.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Those who can’t do, teach”?
Unfortunately, some coaches and consultants fall into this category.
These types are really good at explaining how things “should” work. They've read a lot of books and use a lot of big important sounding phrases, but they haven't actually tested their strategies in real life.
Of course, they will get results for some people.
Miracles happen every day.
You don’t want to be that “miracle”.
Keep reading to learn how to avoid hiring a coach like that...
Two Types of Coaches You Should Look For
There are two main types of coaches to look for.
The first type is a coach that has done what you are currently doing.
(The best person to help you put together your Ikea table is the person who just finished putting together their own Ikea table, right?)
This is probably a SAS (or multi SaaS) founder who built their business from scratch, or who bought and sold a couple different businesses, and has actually been through the process that you’re going through right now.
And since they’ve gone through exactly what you're going through, they know what to look for and what things worked or didn’t work.
They know how things work IN PRACTICE.
There's a lot of advantage to this. Mainly, obviously, because they've already been through it.
Your coach can act as a kind of a lighthouse. You can talk to them, they can give you specific feedback, motivate you and help you when things get rough.
They’ve been there.
The downside is sometimes they don’t think outside the box. They say they can fix your problem because they had the same problem.
…But what if their solution doesn’t work for your situation?
They might get stumped and/or “wash their hands” and say: “Well, you must have not done it right” or “Just keep at it”, which may leave you feeling unsure, or worse, headed down the wrong path.
They may refuse to acknowledge that their solution is not the best solution for you and they’ll simply keep pushing you to make decisions that aren’t good for your business.
Please note that not every coach that has “been there done that” is going to be like this.
He or she may very well be the type that DOES think outside of the box, but just something to be aware of.
The second type of coach is someone who has helped a ton of other people and has an impressive track record of getting results.
This coach hasn’t owned a SAS company or even been a founder of a SAS, BUT they have spent a lot of time helping other SAS founders.
Over time, just because of the sheer number of people that they've worked with conversations they've had, things that they've seen work and didn’t work, they can look at your situation and review their library of knowledge and say, “Hey, there was a company that we worked with or that I talked to that had this similar problem, here's what they did to solve it.”
This type of coach is not stuck on a one size fits all solution, they're taking their aggregate knowledge and putting it together into a custom solution for you.
Often, because of the experience they have in talking to so many founders and companies, and often failing a lot more, or watching and seeing more failures, they know what works and what doesn't work.
Both of these types of coaches are extremely valuable, for different reasons.
So make sure they have either done it themselves or have a giant library of second-hand knowledge and real world experience.
Beware of Coaches That Will Work With Anyone
Your success with a coach will also depend on whether or not YOU have a problem they can solve.
If a coach (or anyone) starts prescribing solutions for you without digging into your situation, be very wary.
A world-class coach will have a vetting and qualification process to make sure you are a good match for them and that you have a problem they can solve.
They will properly diagnose you BEFORE prescribing “medications” that might only cover up the root problem instead of fixing it.
For example, over the past few years I’ve had less and less energy during the day. I can’t seem to make it through the day without a long nap AND 10 hours of sleep.
So I went to my general practitioner and he prescribed some Vitamin D, a B12 shot and to get some more exercise.
None of it helped.
I still had hardly any energy and NOW I felt hopeless.
It wasn’t until I started going to specialists that started running tests that I didn’t even know could be run, monitoring things I didn’t even know I needed to monitor that I started seeing a difference.
After seeing a Sleep Doctor, I realized I had severe sleep apnea, meaning I was only getting 4 hours of sleep a night.
And I had been for the past few years!
Once I solved that problem I saw a significant improvement.
It was like night and day.
Sure, taking Vitamin D and B12 won’t hurt me, but it didn’t make any difference until I found the root cause.
Working with a coach who will ask you tons of questions, dig deep into your problem and solve the ROOT problem (even if you can’t see what that is yet) is going to be much more valuable than just getting general knowledge.
Some coaches will take any client they can get, even if that client is not the best fit for them. The coach will make big promises without knowing enough about you or your needs.
You should almost demand a qualification process for any coach or consultant that you hire.
You want to know who they can and cannot help, because if you fall into the “cannot help” category, you should disqualify yourself and keep shopping for the right coach for you.
A good coach is one that helps you see your problems in a different way.
Their plan will contain more than just tactics or “growth hacks”. They will teach you how to think differently.
There’s nothing that puts a bigger smile on my face than when a coaching client comes to me and says: “Aaron, I had this problem. I remember what you said about thinking about this problem this way, and I solved it doing XYZ” and they solved it the EXACT way I would have.
It’s even more thrilling when they start thinking strategically about growing their business and it filters into everything they do.
I’ve seen growth explode because Founders started viewing their problems in a different light and approaching them in new ways.
So, when hiring, in addition to looking at the actual strategies you’ll implement, ask: How is this going to help you be a better CEO and Founder? How are you going to be able to translate what you learned from coaching and consulting into your personal life and business? Will I be better off as a person, CEO, Founder after working with this person>
In my early career as a coach and consultant, I always thought that if I taught the right strategies and the right tactics in the right order, it would be impossible for someone to not have success.
What I found was that people are wayyyy more complicated than that.
You have good days, bad days, days where you want to give up and throw everything in the garbage and start over, and there are days where you feel on top of the world.
Sometimes all these feelings in one day, haha.
So a world-class coach or consultant is available to talk you through all this and help you work through these ups and downs. For them to do that, they need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and see the vision, a vision greater than what you can see.
They will say during those hard times: “Listen. I know it's hard. I know what we did just failed. I know this hasn't been working. But that's part of the process. You have an incredible product! I'm going to stick with you until we figure this out. I see a vision for you that you may not see for yourself.”
A coach is not emotionally attached to the process, or the outcome, and can step back and say: “This failed. This didn't work. All right. Let's try it again. Let's do something different. Here's a new strategy. Here's a new technique. Let's look at our plan. Where are we on the plan? And what can we do now?”
I'm telling you from experience, that when you have a coach or consultant who has looked at your product and believes in you and your vision and can see something greater than you can see for yourself, talking to that person can lift you out of some of the darkest times you can imagine.
A world-class coach is someone you talk to, get feedback from, and to help you get realigned. They say “Let’s pause for a second” when you’re getting off track. They make sure you have a clear path moving forward and that you’re not being pulled in a million different directions.
They push back and challenge your beliefs and get you to try things you wouldn’t have tried on your own.
Then, at the right time, they’ll give you the right training you need to solve your problem faster.
A world-class coach, in my opinion, will also have some element of done-for-you in the program.
For instance, in our SaaS Profit Accelerator, Founders go through a foundational building process where they learn how to look at their product differently and how to understand their customer better.
But when it comes to things like outreach and getting new clients, we implement that for them.
We actually create the sequences; we create a campaign that brings in new customers - new high value customers- and we do it all for them.
So they can spend their time on what they want to be doing.
We know what to do, and we know how to do it better than anyone else. The process is theirs to duplicate or use whenever they want. We're just implementing it for them.
As you kind of evolve in your process and you're thinking about hiring a consultant or have in the past and are now not sure if a consultant can help you, consider these things I’ve talked about.
I promise you that there are really amazing coaches and consultants out there who can help you and the right one can really take you and your business to heights you only dreamed of.